Installing tiles in the kitchen or bathroom is a demanding job. This collection of tips for luxury vinyl tile installation cost per square foot may not solve all your tile problems, but it will help you avoid the most common headaches.
Mix a smooth layer of grout for basic tile installation!
Mix the slurry or grout and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This gives the dry pieces time to absorb the water before the final mixing. After all the prep work and scheduling, you’re finally ready to start tile installation and see some consequences. The last thing you want to do is stop and wait. But the key to a smooth, lump-free mix is to give the nozzle time to absorb the water or “quench.” The potent mixture will drive you crazy if you try to brush a thin set on the wall or floor. After extinguishing, stir again and add a little water if necessary. Play the same quick game when you mix the grout later.
Pour the perfect floor. For better tile installation results!
The self-leveling compound will give you a flat, smooth base for the tile installation. It’s also a quick way to insert mats or cables into underfloor heating. Tiling a corrugated floor is a disaster thing at night. You push and try to get each tile flush with its neighbors and still end up with “slippage” (edges that stick out above adjacent tiles, usually at the corners). So before you lay the tiles, check the floor with a 4-foot. Straight edge. If you find little spots more than 1/4 inch deep, apply caulk to create an even surface. The self-leveling compound is almost waterproof, but it has two major pitfalls. First, it slowly penetrates the minor crack or hole, leaving a crater on the surface. So before you lay down the molding, grab your caulking gun and fill every little gap – even the little nail holes. Second, you have to work fast. Most compounds begin to set in about 30 minutes. To pour the entire floor in this time frame, you need at least one helper to mix the mixture as you run. And even with help, you’ll need to move quickly.
Remove the baseboard during tile installation.
When baseboards are removed, measurements and cuts may not be exact. This means faster work and fewer poorly cut tiles in the scrap pile. Of course, you can leave the baseboard in place, lay tiles installation along, and seal the gap. But this “shortcut” will look second-rate and cost you precise measuring and cutting hours. With the baseboards gone, your cuts may not be accurate or perfect; the base plate hides chipped edges and minor flaws. If you’re dead set on pulling out the baseboards, consider adding molding to the bottom of the baseboard after the tile is laid.
Set the tile installation on the ledger
Attach a straight cornice to the wall to support the tiles installation. Remove the book later and cut the tiles to fill the gap below it. The ideal way to tile a wall is to start from the bottom and work your way up. And this works well if the downside of the wall (usually the floor or bathtub) is flat and on the level. If not, the tile will simply cause imperfections; you end up with misaligned tiles and joints that vary in width. To get a straight and level start, place a book on the wall, leaving a gap underneath—about 1/2 inch less than the entire tile. The text shown here is a length of steel angle held in place by wooden blocks bolted to the upper wall. A layer of plywood or a perfectly straight board will do the job.
Handle heavy cuts with a sander
Cut out the exit holes. For proper tile installation!
Draw a switch or socket on the base of the tile. Design as much as possible, then finish the cut from the back, where you can cut corners slightly. A grinder is not the best tool for cutting tiles. It whips up a nasty dust storm and often leaves jagged or chipped edges. Plus, it’s slower than a tile installation cutter or wet saw. But equipped with a diamond blade, the grinder will cut curves and make closed cuts that these other tools cannot. Instead, choose a “dry cut” knife and cut outdoors.
Slow down drying during tile installation!
Professionals like to get the job done quickly and sometimes use a quick thin-set setup. For the rest of us mortal slower is better, and even standard products sometimes harden or dry too soon. Here are two ways to save extra work time for tile installation: First, damp the baseboard or concrete with a sponge before applying a thin layer. A wet surface does not immediately wick moisture from a narrow set. Second, mix thin-set with latex additive rather than water. The latex additive dries more slowly than water and increases adhesion in thin substrates and grout. The grout is also more stain-resistant. (Check the label: several latex additives are designed to speed up the setting process.) If the thinner or grout hardens before you use it, throw it away. Do not add water or stir. That’s a recipe for a weak connection and problems later.
Required tools for this tile installation project
Before you begin, prepare the necessary tools for this tile installation DIY project – it will save you time and frustration.
- Angle grinder
- A bucket
- Battery-powered drill
- Square framing
- Installment float
- Knee pads
- Notched trowel
- Utility knife
You will also need an edging trowel, rubber gloves, a sponge, and a tile saw.
Materials required for this tile installation project
Avoid last-minute shopping by having all your materials ready in advance. Here is the list.
- Drywall screws
- Floor leveler
- Joint compound
- Latex additive
- Mortar with a thin layer
- Wooden slats
Check the work and flatness of the floor tile installation.
Checking the level is especially important if you will be adding tiles. Set 4 tracks. The best way to check tile installation is on the edge of a long, straight 2×4 for reading on a large surface. Turn the boards to find dips or bumps. More minor depressions can be created with construction paper, but more significant drops may require a liquid floor leveler. Plywood substrates with high spots can be sanded with a belt.